King Committee, IoDSA call on Ramaphosa to keep to his Zondo commitments

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo

Published Oct 14, 2022


The King Committee and the Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA) yesterday called on President Ramaphosa to honour his undertaking to submit his response plan to the Zondo Commission’s 358 recommendations by October 15.

The groups said the speed with which the Zondo Reports were released sent an important message about how important these reports were.

King Committee on Corporate Governance for South Africa chair Ansie Ramalho said: “It is a message that could be seriously undermined should the recommendations not be acted upon with the same sense of urgency. The president’s recent hints that the slight delay in the commission’s submission of its final report could impact the time frame of four months imposed by the courts to announce the government’s response is somewhat worrying.”

Ramalho said that the King Committee would like to see the president address key issues relating to leadership.

“Generally speaking, the Zondo Reports show that a lack of leadership — from the president, Parliament, ministers, and boards, both in the public and private sectors — lies at the root of state capture," Ramalho said.

According to Ramalho, the King Committee would like to see the president define the role that shareholder ministers must play in ensuring that SOE boards have ethical, competent and effective members.

“Arbitrary decisions, protected from public scrutiny and with no appreciation of accountability, are not fitting in a democracy. The president should make this clear in his response,” she said.

IoDSA CEO Parmi Natesan said the broader question of what criteria should be used when making board appointments should also be addressed.

Natesan said board members bear a heavy responsibility and general business proficiency in a particular industry is not enough.

“Directors pre-eminently need to possess specific competencies as professional directors, as outlined in the IoDSA’s Director Competency Framework. Without these professional competencies, in addition to appropriate industry experience, they will not be able to fulfil their role and legal duties effectively,” Natesan said.

According to Natesan, attention should be given to ensuring that boards contain individuals with a diversity of opinions and experience able to offer different perspectives and inspire more robust debate toward the goal of better decision-making.

“King IV defines governance as ethical and effective leadership or differently put, ethical and competent leadership. Failures of leadership at every level enabled state capture, and the King Committee expects that the president’s response to the Zondo report’s recommendations is timeous and will address this core issue effectively,” added Ramalho.

Meanwhile, Corruption Watch executive director Karam Singh in an interview said, Corruption Watch expected an extensive response from the presidency very soon.

“We expect that response to be comprehensive whether that response comes next week, or this week, it’s neither here nor there. The presidency has had time to deal with the report. There is a lot of recommendation in it, it is not a straightforward task to determine which recommendations go to which bodies. So it is important that the president takes time to gauge the report,” Singh said.

He said Corruption Watch was looking forward to receiving the response shortly to provide it with a way forward so that it can feel confident that the work of the commission is being taken seriously, and is informed in its approach going forward to the fight against corruption and ensuring that the country never has a situation of state capture again.

“There are a bunch of recommendations about further investigations and possible prosecutions which the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will take forward. It’s their mandate to deal with the prosecution. We don’t want the president to comment on the potential of prosecution.

“We want the president to comment on the issues that it would have control over equating how the appointment of senior positions takes place, what is the government’s position on the issues ensuring that we have a full-scale procurement system, what response they will have in ensuring we have enhanced whistleblower protection. There a whole range of basic political issues which may have legislative implications where the president needs to provide us with some kind of extensive comment to give us a way forward,” he said.